The ultimatum was issued at a National Security Council (NSC) meeting, impeccable sources have revealed.
Mugabe and the security chiefs are said to be worried that if the issue of salaries for civil servants was not addressed immediately it might ignite protests similar to the ones that toppled authoritarian regimes in Egypt and Tunisia early this year.
“The PM was asked to whip his man into line or else the unity government collapses over the issue of civil servants as it was now threatening national security,” the source said.
“Tsvangirai is the one who brought Biti into government and he was told that he was the one to bring him to order.”
The ultimatum also came a day after Mugabe launched a scathing attack on Biti where he came short of blaming the MDC-T secretary general for all the financial problems facing the country.
Mugabe said Biti was trying to usurp his powers, blocking funding for new farmers and failing to finance Bulawayo firms, which are closing down. But it is the issue of civil servants’ salaries that has reportedly unsettled Mugabe and the generals.
Sources also added that on Tuesday government set up a committee to look at the issue of civil servants’ salaries that has been dragging since last year.
Mugabe announced during a visit to Ethiopia in February that civil servants would get a hefty salary increment after the government held a third auction of the Chiadzwa diamonds.
Biti has maintained that Treasury’s coffers are dry and no significant income has been realised from diamond sales.
Yesterday he was not available for comment. The aide who answered his phone had promised that Biti would return the call to The Standard but he was not not answering his mobile phone when subsequent attempts were made to contact him.
Civil servants earn an average of US$200 a month but statistics show that a family of five needed at least US$502 a month to survive. Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba refused to comment on the ultimatum to Biti saying he was not authorised to do so.
Ian Makone, the chief of staff in the PM’s office also refused to comment saying he did not know what transpired at the meeting. Minister of State in the PM’s office Jameson Timba also refused to comment saying deliberations of the NSC were confidential.